Layla by Colleen Hoover #BookReview

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When Leeds meets Layla, he’s convinced he’ll spend the rest of his life with her—until an unexpected attack leaves Layla fighting for her life. After weeks in the hospital, Layla recovers physically, but the emotional and mental scarring has altered the woman Leeds fell in love with. In order to put their relationship back on track, Leeds whisks Layla away to the bed-and-breakfast where they first met. Once they arrive, Layla’s behavior takes a bizarre turn. And that’s just one of many inexplicable occurrences.

Feeling distant from Layla, Leeds soon finds solace in Willow—another guest of the B&B with whom he forms a connection through their shared concerns. As his curiosity for Willow grows, his decision to help her find answers puts him in direct conflict with Layla’s well-being. Leeds soon realizes he has to make a choice because he can’t help both of them. But if he makes the wrong choice, it could be detrimental for all of them.

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star three and a half

It’s been a while since I read a novel by one of my favorite romance authors. Even though I’m a big fan I don’t want to binge-read her novels. Her books need to be savored like a fine wine, I enjoy drinking in her words but want to pace myself and not just have too much at once. This novel is causing some division in my head though and it’s the first novel I read that is a difficult one to form an opinion of. I confess I had not read any reviews beforehand because I know this author and I loved every single book she has written but I was unprepared for the genre of novel this was. It seems she’s venturing further from the type of novels she wrote in the past, first dabbling into a different genre with Verity (a thriller, which I really liked because it also had a cool twist) and now this one.

Layla had an important and big plot twist which involves one of those tropes I really don’t like reading about so I felt a little deflated when I first found out. Had I known this then I don’t know if I had picked it up yet and would have chosen to read another one of hers first. Maybe it is a good thing though that I didn’t know because I did come around in the end so the final verdict is that I did enjoy it and chances are you’ll probably like it even more than me.

Without going into the plot, I can say that I felt conflicted at first that Leeds spent so much time with Willow, it somehow felt quite disloyal that he started to have these sort of secret conversations and encounters and as the story progressed that feeling only grew stronger. I was happy when he finally started to think about what he was doing because I reached that point much earlier so I didn’t really like Leeds and the fact that there are chapters where he has Layla TIED UP IN HER ROOM was even more reason for me to totally dislike him. I totally changed my mind in the end though and I totally understood his actions then so I did love that the author managed to change my feelings towards Willow, Layla and Leeds completely.

Apart from the trope that demanded some suspension of my belief, it is also not my favorite novel by the author because I couldn’t feel as deeply and as emotionally as I would have if it were a straightforward love story. One where I didn’t block the feeling of wanting a romance to blossom between two people who aren’t in a relationship as much as I did here from the start. The focus of my feelings was more on disliking certain characters instead of focusing on the love aspect. It’s all a bit unrealistic for me but she did manage to write something that will surprise the reader as it is something fresh and original.

I do have Heart Bones, another novel of hers waiting on my tbr pile so hopefully that will really give me what I want to satisfy my romantic side.

I bought a paperback copy of this novel. This is my honest opinion.

Good Girl, Bad Blood by Holly Jackson (book #2 of 3) #BookReview

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Pip Fitz-Amobi is not a detective anymore.
With the help of Ravi Singh, she released a true-crime podcast about the murder case they solved together last year. The podcast has gone viral, yet Pip insists her investigating days are behind her.
But she will have to break that promise when someone she knows goes missing. Jamie Reynolds has disappeared but the police won’t do anything about it. And if they won’t look for Jamie then Pip will, uncovering more of her town’s dark secrets along the way… and this time EVERYONE is listening.
But will she find him before it’s too late?

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Good Girl, Bad Blood was a highly anticipated novel to read and I bought it as soon as I finished the first novel of the trilogy, one I absolutely loved and which even made an appearance on my end of year list. Good Girl, Bad Blood is a great sequel to the this young adult mystery murder novel titled A Good Girls Guide to Murder which I reviewed in July last year, but of course the format (with transcripts, a map, in essence lots of visual embellishments) in which Jackson’s debut novel was written, was expected now so the surprising effect wasn’t really there this time. Not that I didn’t appreciate that she used the same techniques though, I love how attractive she made it look again!

In the previous novel Pip was looking for a murderer, believing the police came to the wrong conclusion, but this time she’s looking for a missing person, which meant her investigation is more about finding clues instead of suspects. She does go around interrogating several people again but I didn’t happen to feel the same thrill of sleuthing that I had in the first novel where I was more actively thinking along who the villain could be.

The author raised the bar so high with her first novel and while I heard some readers say this one’s even better, I’m not sure I feel the same way. Don’t get me wrong, Good Girl, Bad Blood is a ‘bloody good novel’ but the best one so far is undoubtedly still the first one for me (I have to admit, I often feel that way). There really is no shame holding this second place though because I still very much enjoyed seeing Pip in her element again, making lots of progress throughout the novel at a steady pace (she’s really a young Veronica Mars and she does it so well) and I can only think of two small things that I would have liked to have seen differently. The first is the fact that Ravi, Pip’s wingman in novel one is taking quite a backseat in this one, and I missed this voice of reason sometimes, not to mention his positive and warm personality, and the other thing is that this novel recaps literally everything that happened in the first novel, it goes on for several pages and while I enjoyed that it jogged my memory this way, I don’t think that readers who haven’t read the first novel will appreciate this because there is no point reading the first of the series after you read this one, so do take that into account if you’re interested in reading it.

Anyway to say I’m very excited to read book 3 of the series As Good As Dead is an understatement (I’ll have to wait till August/September at least though) because in this third story Pip has a stalker and there’s a man behind bars who is probably the wrong person and a real serial killer who’s running free. I’m trying to keep my expectations in check this time but it’s really hard with this series! So, if you’re used to reading detective stories but new to young adult, this is absolutely a great series to start with!

I bought a paperback copy of this book. This is my honest opinion.

🎹 A Thousand Perfect Notes 🎹 by C.G. Drew #BookReview

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Beck hates his life. He hates his violent mother. He hates his home. Most of all, he hates the piano that his mother forces him to play hour after hour, day after day. He will never play as she did before illness ended her career and left her bitter and broken. But Beck is too scared to stand up to his mother, and tell her his true passion, which is composing his own music – because the least suggestion of rebellion on his part ends in violence.

When Beck meets August, a girl full of life, energy and laughter, love begins to awaken within him and he glimpses a way to escape his painful existence. But dare he reach for it?

Thrilling and powerfully written, this is an explosive debut for YA readers which tackles the dark topic of domestic abuse in an ultimately hopeful tale.

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Hands down… five stars! Six if I could even.. Once in a blue moon there’s this one outstanding book, this one book that reminds you what a five star rating is for. A Thousand Perfect Notes is that one book. It feels like forever that I read something so intense and became so emotional. If you’re into the works of Colleen Hoover, you simply have to read this novel. It could even be a CoHo novel but no I checked, it really is an original C.G. Drews novel. I knew C.G. Drews before she became an author and was a bookblogger so I damn well knew she could write but I’m still really blown away with what she wrote here. Girl, I had no idea you would be this amazing!

A Thousand Perfect Notes had my heart in its grip from the start. It is normal that parents wish for their kids to do well in life but some parents can’t handle their own failures, and some parents want their kids to continue what they started and do as well or no, do even better. Beck’s mother was a famous pianist – until she couldn’t play anymore – and she wants Beck to step into her footsteps, to live up to the Kervinich name and be the best pianist. She doesn’t use positive motivation to achieve this but takes her frustrations out on him. She prefers to throw insults at him in German, but generally just lashes out in any way she sees fit to get what she wants. It was at times hard to read, especially because Beck and his sister Joey were at the mercy of their mother without anyone watching out for them. I don’t know if this is really realistic – in the novel Joey’s preschool teachers never ask any questions about their home situation but it was so obvious in my mind and I didn’t find it normal that they discuss Joey’s problems with a 15 year-old – I can only hope that in real life children in the same position are noticed and they are taken care of.

Beck is a wonderful and kind character, taking everything on the chin that is thrown at him. He is fiercely protective of his 5 year old baby sister Joey but his world only consists of music, from the minute he wakes to the moment he goes to sleep. My heart went out to him and my eyes welled up several times because of the beautiful lines and the heartfelt thoughts. Not only for Beck but also for August, the girl he needs to write an essay with. August is earth and summer, she is smiles and rainbows. August is noticing Beck, she wants to be his friend, even if he doesn’t want to and tries his best to keep her at a distance. Can he let anyone in? What will his future hold and can he put a stop to his situation? There are more twists here than in the thriller I’m currently listening to!

Have you read the blurb? Then you get an idea what you’re signing up for. Yes this novel is hard and tough and heartbreaking but god, I want to reread it already. So please don’t be scared to read it, it’s so worth it! I probably don’t even need to tell you that there’s a good chance you’ll see this on on my end of year list, maybe the only real news is that I already bought C.G. Drews second novel, The Boy Who Steals Houses.

I bought a paperback copy of this novel and this is my honest opinion.

The Cousins by Karen M. McManus #BookReview @PRHGlobal #partner

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The Storys are the envy of their neighbours: owners of the largest property on their East Coast island, they are rich, beautiful, and close. Until it all falls apart. The four children are suddenly dropped by their mother with a single sentence:

You know what you did.

They never hear from her again.

Years later, when 18-year-old cousins Aubrey, Milly and Jonah Story receive a mysterious invitation to spend the summer at their grandmother’s resort, they have no choice but to follow their curiosity and meet the woman who’s been such an enigma their entire lives.

This entire family is built on secrets, right? It’s the Story legacy.

This summer, the teenagers are determined to discover the truth at the heart of their family. But some secrets are better left alone.

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Was this a brilliant read? A hundred times yes! The Cousins held so many unexpected twists and turns in its pages, I was completely hooked! I loved the author’s debut novel One of Us Is Lying, and I enjoyed the second one, Two Can Keep a Secret but it wasn’t as surprising as her debut so I guess that’s all I have as a poor excuse for not having read her third novel. However, I had a new chance to read a (free) copy of book nr. 4 The Cousins and the blurb really sold it to me. We all know I’m a sucker for secrets so yes of course I grabbed the chance with both hands to read it and she’s completely won me over again!

The Cousins is about Mildred’s four children (Adam, Anders, Allison and Archer) and her three Story grandchildren (Aubrey, Jonah, Milly) and while I was a little worried about so many characters (there was a family tree drawn up in the prologue which seemed a lot to have to remember), it was not even once confusing to keep them apart. McManus didn’t just drop all the characters at once but introduced the first person (Milly), then her mother (Allison), then in the next chapter Aubrey, and soon enough I had a good idea how they were all tied together. I liked all three grandchildren so it’s difficult to pick a favorite but I’d say I loved Milly most because Milly is the fiercest and she’s the most eagle-eyed of all three which is exactly who you need in a story like this. Aubrey is definitely the character who develops the most throughout the story though, going from a sweet girl who would never dream of standing up to one of her parents to someone who dares to say what she feels, a complete turn around from when she was introduced. It didn’t feel convuled at all but rather a natural development and I couldn’t be happier that she turned out to be the Story grandchild who plays a big part in the end when it gets really dangerous (that’s right dangerous!), and that it wasn’t Milly who would be the more evident choice.

The plotline is the work of a very skilled author and was full of surprises released with perfect timing and pacing. The whole Story history was quite cleverly constructed and I didn’t want to put it down before I knew what would happen next. My only small niggle was that I couldn’t quite understand why nobody tried to reach out and contact their mother more in the past. Were they really all culpable of whatever they were supposed to have done? Now of course there was this big question about the reason for their (grand)mother severing all ties which was in the back of my mind at all times, but I was not focused on it and I was really just as invested in what went on beside of that, getting to know the cousins more and what happened there between them and their estranged grandmother who isn’t so keen to get to know them really, even if she invited them herself. Time to make amends? Perhaps or perhaps not 😊.

Overall, an addictive and gripping novel that I can highly recommend and makes me not want to miss her next novel anymore!

I received a free ecopy of this novel via Netgalley from PRHGlobal/prhinternational for review, thank you! This is still my honest opinion.

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson #BookReview

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The case is closed. Five years ago, schoolgirl Andie Bell was murdered by Sal Singh. The police know he did it. Everyone in town knows he did it.

But having grown up in the same small town that was consumed by the crime, Pippa Fitz-Amobi isn’t so sure. When she chooses the case as the topic for her final project, she starts to uncover secrets that someone in town desperately wants to stay hidden. And if the real killer is still out there, how far will they go to keep Pip from the truth . . . ?

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I have already bought Holly Jackson’s next novel, Good Girl Bad Blood so yes I absolutely bloody loved this YA mystery. It’s been so long since I read something YA that was so highly entertaining and well plotted.

Under the pretext of writing her EPC school project about the role of the media when  high school student Andie Bell disappeared 5 years before, Pippa goes on a quest to discover what happened to her. Andie’s body was never found and Pippa has her doubts about the alleged killer since the very beginning so this is her chance to dig in and she’s quite brilliant at this digging in. Pippa is your next Veronica Mars and there’s no trouble big enough for her so she goes to investigate, interview, befriend strangers or occasionally even trespass a friend’s house.

What I absolutely loved the most about this novel was the long list of suspects that Pippa compiles while working this case. It seems Andie wasn’t the perfect sweet girl that the media made of her after all. There were plenty of twists and turns and while Pippa started out with one suspect, the clues she follows make her add loads of suspects to the list. She didn’t make it easy on me as the list grows and grows.

Holly Jackson surprised me with her debut novel. She made the story really engaging as well by including sms conversations, police reports, productions logs where she includes the transcripts of interviews and most importantly shares her thoughts and conclusions of what she has discovered so far. As a reader you’re totally on the same page as Pippa that way and it’s pretty addictive to keep on reading so you can discover even more.

There’s much to like about this book. The protagonist is young but clever, she’s not your usual detective or journalist so people don’t see her as threat and she’s not running into dead ends right away, it’s silly how they underestimate her. It makes this novel a fast and easy read. She also gets help from Ravi, Sal’s brother who also believes in his innocence and although Pippa does most of the legwork and everything, his contributions were just what the story needed. I also thought I felt a spark of interest between them early on in the story and while it never takes the upperhand, I was actually hoping for them to give in as it would make me quite happy.

Overall an entirely compelling novel with a great ending too. I can’t wait to read her next book and I can only hope it’ll be just as great as this one.

I bought a paperback copy of this novel. This is my honest opinion.

A Semi Definitive List of Worst Nightmares by Krystal Sutherland #BookReview

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Esther Solar’s family is . . . unusual. Her father hasn’t left the basement in six years. Her brother is terrified of darkness.

Esther isn’t afraid of anything – because she avoids pretty much everything. Elevators are off limits, as are open spaces, crowds, family pets, birds, needles, haircuts, dolls and mirrors.

But when Esther is pickpocketed by her cocky old classmate Jonah Walker, Esther and Jonah become surprising friends. Jonah sets a challenge: every week they must work their way through the world’s fifty most common phobias. Skydiving, horse riding, beekeeping, public speaking, reptilehouses – they plan to do it all.

Soon their weekly foray into fear becomes the only thing that keeps them tethered to reality, and to each other. But each is keeping a secret from the other, a secret that threatens to rip them apart.

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P.19 (a description of the three friends Hephzibah, Eugene and Esther): “A ghost who couldn’t speak, a boy who hated the dark and a girl who dressed as someone else everywhere she went.”

Who the hell tapes all the light switches and lamps in a house in the on-position, or dresses like she’s on her way to a costume party every single day? What did I start reading? Quirky novels and me, we don’t always (usually) gel well and I certainly wasn’t expecting it to be such a novel but the characters were too endearing from the start to let them go and so this novel is the exception on the rule. There’s also just something about knowing someone’s vulnerability, being allowed to read about their fears, it’s just impossible not to feel for them.

Even when it’s all part of a made-up world – too unreal because there’s just too many fears and quirkiness to truly believe it – I’m sure there are people who are afraid of the dark and who see black cats as an omen. The author magnified this only a thousand times. At first sight it only seems like a crazy, bizarre and funny read with Esther tackling her bucket list of fears, but it’s definitely not all it is.

There’s also a little bit of magical realism in the story that was pulled off really well and it kept me wondering throughout the novel if Death really was a person or not. Esther thinks to know for sure as she sees how The Curse spoken to her grandfather by Death himself during the war holds her entire family in a grip. He told them they would all die from their biggest fear or phobia and so far it all came true. She doesn’t want to become like them though, so she’s trying to lure Death to her by confronting her fears instead of avoiding them like she’s done for so many years. I loved following her challenges, they start easy and are funny enough but become more serious further down the list. There are even a few I’d pass up on myself.

It doesn’t take long though to understand there are many layers beneath the bizarre spectacle, some obvious and others harder to see through. The novel has some deep messages about mental health issues, depression, loss, but also personal growth, being yourself and seeking help when you need it. The funny quirky characters help to keep it light enough so it has exactly the right amount of balance. And Jonah was the perfect person to bring out the best in Esther, he’s so creative and attentive and I wish and hope we can all have a Jonah in our lives.

Overall a very enjoyable debut novel that makes me wonder what else she has in store. I can recommend this novel to bookworms who read or are interested in reading Turtles All The Way Down.

I received a free copy from this novel through a giveaway. This is my honest opinion.

The Furies by Katie Lowe #BookReview

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In 1998, a sixteen-year-old girl is found dead on school property, dressed in white and posed on a swing, with no known cause of death. The novel opens with this image, as related to us by the narrator, Violet, looking back on the night it happened from the present day, before returning to relate the series of events leading up to the girl’s murder.

After an accident involving her Dad and sister, Violet joins Elm Hollow Academy, a private girls school in a quiet coastal town, which has an unpleasant history as the site of famous 17th century witch trials. Violet quickly finds herself invited to become the fourth member of an advanced study group, alongside Robin, Grace, and Alex – led by their charismatic art teacher, Annabel.

While Annabel claims her classes aren’t related to ancient rites and rituals – warning the girls off the topic, describing it as little more than mythology – the girls start to believe that magic is real, and that they can harness it. But when the body of a former member of the society – Robin’s best friend, with whom Violet shares an uncanny resemblance – is found dead on campus nine months after she disappeared, Violet begins to wonder whether she can trust her friends, teachers, or even herself.

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If I don’t hit it off with a novel right away – if I’m not feeling ‘it’ – it’ll be difficult to turn that feeling around and, unfortunately, that’s what happened when I started reading The Furies. The fact is that for some reason I didn’t take in some of the narrative in certain paragraphs and I had to go back and reread parts of the story. I believe the reason for this could be because of the lyrical and descriptive writing style and the plot didn’t really capture my attention after the – I must admit – wonderful first chapter.

I loved the rich history of the school and how the author broached the Greek mythology in the story but the characters fell flat for me and weren’t all that interesting. The plotline involves four girls (Violet, Robin, Alex and Grace) but in reality there are only two stealing the show which are Robin and ‘Vivi’. These girls have quite a toxic relationship where one is being manipulated by the other and I should maybe have felt for Violet but she didn’t really say or do anything to make me care for her very much.

There was even one disturbing scene where she was involved (I might say it merits a trigger warning) and it didn’t sit well with me at all, not her behaviour at the time but I was appalled by her reaction afterwards as well. Let’s just say that her way to deal with a situation was taking revenge with some witchcraft where she should have acted rationally. I do love young adult and have enjoyed many novels in this genre before but I feel this one must be for younger readers. I know I was looking too hard into their actions and struggling with the decision-making in the novel so much I wasn’t able to really enjoy it like I should have. The Furies contains storylines of peer pressure, revenge and assault so it does touch on some interesting and not so easy topics but the girls are naïve and the surface was only scratched for me, I was not able to feel the emotions that such tough subjects could provoke.

The Furies reminded me of tv shows as Pretty Little Liars and The Craft, and it does show some similarities so if you really enjoy voodoo-doll and animal sacrifice rituals then you’ll find the storyline to your liking. I think this might work better for me as a tv show.

I received a free copy of this novel from the publisher via Netgalley. This is my honest opinion.

All Your Perfects by Colleen Hoover #BookReview

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Quinn and Graham’s perfect love is threatened by their imperfect marriage. The memories, mistakes, and secrets that they have built up over the years are now tearing them apart. The one thing that could save them might also be the very thing that pushes their marriage beyond the point of repair.

All Your Perfects is a profound novel about a damaged couple whose potential future hinges on promises made in the past. This is a heartbreaking page-turner that asks: Can a resounding love with a perfect beginning survive a lifetime between two imperfect people?

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Colleen Hoover has quite clearly moved away from writing cute little romance stories. Well even those stories, the ones she wrote until a few years ago, were more emotional and touching than so many others but I still place them in the category of feel-good stories. It Ends With Us wasn’t a feel-good story for me, it was a punch in the gut kind of story, it was poignant and real, and this one – don’t let the cover let you think otherwise – is the same. She now obviously writes stories with a message, about things that life throws at you and how people cope with that.

The story has 2 plotlines, one showing Graham and Quinn at the very start of their relationship (cue swoonworthy moments) and years later in the present, when their relationship comes under such durress it might not even survive. How did it get this far when they were such a perfect couple? I really wanted to hang onto the chapters in the past but the author didn’t let me and kept the story going into the present too so that I couldn’t escape what was going on with them.

““What’s the secret to a perfect marriage?’ The old man leaned forward and looked at me very seriously. ‘Our marriage hasn’t been perfect. No marriage is perfect. There were times when she gave up on us. There were even more times when I gave up on us. The secret to our longevity is that we never gave up at the same time.”

The main topic of the story was maybe a little bit out of the way of my own experiences and ideas about what I want in life, but I could understand Quinn and it wasn’t hard to root for them to find their way to each other again. I liked Quinn but it hurt me too to see how she pushed Graham away and let this unfulfilled dream come between them. As a bystander it’s easier to see what is needed and what is going on of course, and I wanted to tell her that communication was the only way out of it but I could only hope and wish so hard that they’d come to the same conclusion before reaching the breaking point of their marriage.

I really liked the story but if I want to compare it to the previous novel I read then I have to admit I really liked reading All Your Perfects but didn’t love it like It Ends With Us. It was heartfelt but this time it didn’t break me into a million pieces like her other novel did. It is however still a very recommendable story!

I purchased an ecopy of this novel. This is my honest opinion.

Did I Mention I Love You? (DIMILY trilogy, book 1) #BookReview

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When sixteen-year-old Eden Munro agrees to spend the summer with her estranged father in the beachfront city of Santa Monica, California, she has no idea what she’s letting herself in for. Eden’s parents are divorced and have gone their separate ways, and now her father has a brand new family. For Eden, this means she’s about to meet three new step-brothers. The eldest of the three is Tyler Bruce, a troubled teenager with a short temper and a huge ego.

Complete polar opposites, Eden quickly finds herself thrust into a world full of new experiences as Tyler’s group of friends take her under their wing. But the one thing she just can’t understand is Tyler, and the more she presses to figure out the truth about him, the more she finds herself falling for the one person she shouldn’t her step-brother.

Throw in Tyler’s clingy girlfriend and a guy who has his eyes set on Eden, and there’s secrets, lies and a whole lot of drama. But how can Eden keep her feelings under control? And can she ever work out the truth about Tyler? Did I Mention I Love You is the first book in the phenomenal DIMILY trilogy, following the lives of Eden Munro and Tyler Bruce as they try to find their way in an increasingly confusing world.

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star three and a half

I know that reading young adult novels is not related to age but there was at least one time I couldn’t escape the thought of ‘I’m too old for this’ flashing through my mind.

Would you feel attracted to a moody teenager who can’t say a single nice word to you? Me neither but when Eden arrives at her father’s new place and meets his new family she can’t help being very interested in Tyler. Too much for her own good btw as he’s a) already taken and b) euhm.. family. She must have seen something in his eyes that I obviously didn’t share because I couldn’t immediately see past his arrogant, egotistical attitude. I had my eyes on another guy right away, someone who was more of a gentleman but of course Eden has a penchant for a bad boy type of guy.

I get it though, Tyler’s mysterious ways are a serious X-factor and of course he’s not the incredible badass that he claims to be. I did enjoy the story in the end and my own feelings towards Tyler started thawing when he finally gave some insight into his behaviour. The last part has a few twists in what was otherwise quite a straightforward storyline of slow burning attraction between Eden and Tyler, and made me race through it to know how they would handle their ‘situation’. Would they end up together or not?

If you enjoy dark brooding guys, a somewhat taboo relationship and a good dose of instalove then this is definitely a read you don’t want to miss. Even though I didn’t really fall in love with this read, the guy was too wishywashy for my taste, I am actually a little curious about the sequel, so you never know that I give it a chance in the future anyway.

I won a free paperback copy of this novel via a giveaway. This is my honest opinion.

Turtles All The Way Down by John Green #BookReview

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‘It’s quite rare to find someone who sees the same world you see.’

Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred thousand dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis.

Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.

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5_Star_Rating_System_2_stars_1457015465_81_246_96_2

I was very excited to read my first John Green novel and I thought I was going to love it since I really like YA mystery and the mental health issue also sounded quite interesting but I’m afraid I didn’t fall in love with the plot nor the characters.

A lot of it is probably due to never having felt a real connection with Aza, the person this whole novel is actually about. She’s not a very remarkable character except for what makes her different: she suffers from obsessive thinking. I think it’s great that this condition is brought under our attention but it was quite hard to understand and often sympathise with Aza. I did make some progress towards the end of the novel in regards to knowing how she is as a person and what the consequences are for her but it still wasn’t easy to grasp. I know novels are sometimes too rosy-colored and they often make problems go away or mental illnesses resolve themselves and I don’t like that but I would have preferred to see some progression, something to be really happy about for Aza. The only people evolving are her friends and the reader and she seemed to remain at a standstill. Maybe that’s the whole point of the novel too but even so, she could have showed perhaps a bit more how to deal with it properly and how to live her life happily instead of only highlighting the problems. This way it was definitely not a good news show.

Unfortunately the mystery part of the missing billionnaire was also only a small section of the novel. It really wasn’t what the novel was about and wasn’t followed through. I believe it was just a way to get in touch with Davis as there wasn’t happening much with the plotline. As for Davis himself, I quite often felt sorry for him and his little brother. The spiralling thoughts Aza is having also impact her personal life and relationships and the poor guy is of course caught in the middle when he tries to connect with her.

Turtles All The Way Down was sometimes a YA story and sometimes almost lyrically philosophical. There are plenty of wonderful one-liners that really spoke to me and make you want to get into a highlighting mode. Green uses metaphores aplently and one of Davis’ qualities is quoting poets and using their quotes to refer to his own life. I liked it but it was all a bit much sometimes.

It was disturbing to hear Aza’s spiralling thoughts and seeing that she can’t break those thoughts, telling her what to do if she doesn’t want to be killed by bacteria. C. diff. is her her greatest torment and she goes very far in her thought process.

I wouldn’t read this novel again but in the end it created more awareness for me and I’m sure everyone who reads it and I’m grateful for that.

I won a paperback copy of this novel in a blogger’s giveaway. This is my honest opinion.